Sherlock Holmes was the most famous detective of the 19th century. His adventures were recorded and popularised by his companion, Dr. John Watson. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire, Erasing Sherlock) However, during the War in Heaven Holmes's life was erased from time and turned into fiction (PROSE: The Book of the Enemy) in the form of the writings of Arthur Conan Doyle. (PROSE: Evolution, Revenge of the Judoon, AUDIO: Jago in Love, COMIC: Character Assassin)
Biography[edit | edit source]
From 1882 to 1883, time traveller Gillian Petra worked undercover as a maid on Baker Street to observe Holmes and his companion John Watson. (PROSE: Erasing Sherlock) Watson wrote stories of Holmes's adventures; according to one account, Watson and Holmes had other names, but Watson's literary agent Arthur Conan Doyle anonymised them under those identities. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire)
In 1887, he was asked by the Pope to investigate the missing books at the Library of St John the Beheaded. He went to the Library to investigate when the Seventh Doctor arrived at his house offering his services. He then investigated the crime syndicates which guarded the gang. When he learnt that his brother Sherringford was involved, he accompanied the Doctor to Bombay, where he met Bernice Summerfield. Shortly afterwards, he was supposedly drugged and taken to the portal to Ry'leh, which they entered riding a Rakshassa. Holmes and Watson helped the Doctor battle the creature posing as the Great Old One known as Azathoth. (PROSE: All-Consuming Fire)
Later in 1887, Holmes and Watson travelled to Cheldon Bonniface on 24 April 2010 to attend the wedding of Bernice Summerfield and Jason Kane, uncovering the schemes of the Master during the festivities. (PROSE: Happy Endings)
The Second Doctor claimed to have met Sherlock, (PROSE: Heart of TARDIS) and the Fifth Doctor called Sherlock an old friend. (PROSE: Warmonger) The Fifth Doctor lived for a year in a house at 107 Baker Street in Victorian London, down the street from Sherlock's famous residence in 221B. (AUDIO: The Haunting of Thomas Brewster)
In 1911, Holmes prevented Alexander Korvo from destroying History of Earth Volume 36,379 that contained information about a Gomagog invasion of Earth. Unbeknownst to him, he was saved by Iris Wildthyme from being killed by a bomb during this adventure. In 1927, he attended Korvo's funeral, where he encountered Dorian Gray, who foiled Korvo's later plan. (AUDIO: The Adventure of the Bloomsbury Bomber, The Feast of Magog, Kronos Vad's History of Earth (Vol. 36,379))
At the "twilight of his career," Holmes had been researching effects of the War in Heaven, and in the early 20th century, he realised that Earth's history was constantly being rewritten. Overwhelmed by the differences and conflicting memories between his world and the new one, Holmes read The Book of the Enemy. It erased him from history, and his entire life was turned into fiction. (PROSE: The Book of the Enemy) The Doctor, when talking about Holmes in his seventh and eighth incarnations, cryptically hinted at some kind of permeability between "fiction" and "reality". (PROSE: Timewyrm: Revelation, The Gallifrey Chronicles)
Alternate timeline[edit | edit source]
As fiction[edit | edit source]
After Holmes read The Book of the Enemy, his life was erased from history and turned into fiction. (PROSE: The Book of the Enemy) Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired to invent Sherlock Holmes after meeting the Fourth Doctor in 1880. The Doctor was wearing a deerstalker and cape and determined events at a crime scene by deductive reasoning and close reading of footprints. (PROSE: Evolution)
After Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a second run of Holmes stories for publication in The Strand, he became tired of writing stories about the detective, and wrote a story in which a villain, Moriarty, caused Holmes's death. This failed to stick. (COMIC: Character Assassin) During the reign of King Edward VII, Martha Jones met Doyle, who discussed having "killed off" Holmes. (PROSE: Revenge of the Judoon)
In the 1890s, Holmes and Watson's adventures were serialised in The Strand magazine. Henry Gordon Jago came to believe that he and Professor George Litefoot were the inspiration for the characters. (AUDIO: Jago in Love)
In 1892, Dr. Walter Simeon opined that Conan Doyle was basing his stories on the adventures of Vastra and Jenny Flint. The Eleventh Doctor gained entrance to Dr. Simeon's Institute by pretending to be Holmes, to the apparent confusion of Dr. Simeon's assistant. Simeon angrily pointed out to the Doctor that Holmes was a fictional character in The Strand. Strax was also familiar with Holmes. (TV: The Snowmen)
In 1893, while the Eighth Doctor was renting 221B Baker Street due to its usual resident being on "an extended journey abroad", the Doctor quoted The Hound of the Baskervilles after being chased by a dog in Dartmoor. (PROSE: Camera Obscura)
By the summer of 2065, (PROSE: Peaceful Thals Ambushed!) Jennie Linden had appeared in a Sherlock Holmes TV series. (PROSE: Lady Penelope Investigates the stars of the Sensational new film Dr. Who and the Daleks!)
As an iconic "storybook character", Sherlock Holmes now existed as a real person, with whom travellers could interact, within Storyland. He was spotted by the First Doctor and John and Gillian while on the trail of the Baskerville Hound, which allowed them to instantly recognise they were in a land of fiction. (COMIC: Nostalgia Corner)
Legacy[edit | edit source]
When Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart demanded the Third Doctor come up with better evidence he couldn't dismiss, the Doctor insultingly told the Brigadier that he was "not exactly a little Sherlock Holmes [himself]". (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
Melanie Bush told the Seventh Doctor he was "playing Sherlock Holmes" whenever he sought to investigate mysterious circumstances, such as the ones behind the sudden disappearance of the Dashrans. (AUDIO: The High Price of Parking)
The Master once claimed that the Seventh Doctor flattered himself by thinking of himself as being the Moriarty to the Master's Holmes when he actually provided merely "adequate opposition worthy of very little attention". (AUDIO: The Two Masters)
Alternate timelines[edit | edit source]
In a timeline where River Song caused time to collapse when she refused to kill the Eleventh Doctor, (TV: The Wedding of River Song) Holmes hosted a reality TV show called Detects Factor. (PROSE: Just a Minute...)
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
General info[edit | edit source]
- According to The Brilliant Book 2012, a book that contains non-narrative based information, the Eleventh Doctor feared that wearing a deerstalker hat may make people confuse him for Sherlock.
- Many commentators, including Colin Baker, have noted a similarity between the characters of the Doctor and Holmes. Both character have enjoyed rare levels of popularity and longevity as British fictional characters in multiple media. Tom Baker played Holmes in a 1982 television serial adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles. According to Doctor Who producer Barry Letts, both Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks believed the relationship between the Third Doctor and the Brigadier had developed into one like Holmes and Watson. Both Letts and Dicks concurred that the Master was created as a "Moriarty" for the Doctor as a result of a discussion between Letts and Dicks. (DOC: Life on Earth)
- In the script of Deep Breath, Vastra is described as having her "fingers steepled in the Sherlock Holmes manner."
- The version of Sherlock Holmes depicted on the cover of All-Consuming Fire is based upon arguably the most famous cinematic portrayer of the role, Basil Rathbone.
- The mention of the 'West End Horror' in The Gallifrey Chronicles is an explicit reference to The West End Horror by Nicholas Meyer, a Sherlock Holmes novel in which the detective solves a mystery alongside George Bernard Shaw (but not, of course, mentioning any elements from Doctor Who).
- In Slow Decay, Owen Harper quickly comes up with Tapanuli Fever to falsely describe the condition of Marianne Till. Tapanuli Fever is fictional illness from the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Dying Detective.
Crossovers in other works[edit | edit source]
The Kim Newman short story collection Secret Files of the Diogenes Club, a work which mixes the Sherlock Holmes and other continuities, features Newman's creation the Cold from his Time and Relative, set in the Doctor Who universe.
Big Finish's Sherlock Holmes[edit | edit source]
Beginning in 2009, Big Finish Productions began releasing a range of Sherlock Holmes audio dramas. In the first two episodes Roger Llewellyn played an older Holmes reflecting on his past adventures, with Nicholas Briggs playing the detective in more traditional Holmes adventures from episode three onward. Many cast and crew from the Big Finish Doctor Who audio stories have contributed to the range.
Briggs played Holmes in a Doctor Who production once again in the audio adaptation of All-Consuming Fire.
Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss' Sherlock[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Sherlock
In 2010, Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss created the BBC Wales series Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and also featuring Gatiss, Una Stubbs, Rupert Graves, Phil Davis, Russell Tovey, Gemma Chan, Lindsay Duncan, Tim McInnerny and Toby Jones in supporting roles. As of January 2017[update], it consists of thirteen 90-minute episodes written by Moffat, Gatiss and Steve Thompson.
Doctor Who actors who played Sherlock Holmes in other media include Alexander Armstrong (in an Armstrong and Miller sketch), Tom Baker, Nicholas Briggs, Simon Callow, Peter Capaldi (in an Alexei Sayle sketch), John Cleese, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Cushing, James D'Arcy, Peter Egan, Hugh Fraser, Graeme Garden (in an I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue sketch), Richard E. Grant, Guy Henry, Roy Hudd, Richard Hurndall, Peter Jeffrey, Roy Marsden, Ian McKellen, Clive Merrison, Jonny Lee Miller, David Mitchell (in a Mitchell and Webb sketch), Ron Moody, Ronald Pickup, Jonathan Pryce, Ian Richardson, Nicholas Rowe, Robert Webb (in a Mitchell and Webb sketch) and Alan Wheatley
Cleese, McKellen, Pryce, Rupert Everett, Matt Frewer, Christopher Lee, Alfred Molina and Peter O'Toole, all of whom have played Sherlock Holmes, were all considered for the role of the Eighth Doctor in the TV movie .